Australian government shelves metadata collection plan

The government has shelved a controversial plan to force Australian telecommunications companies, internet service providers and sites such as Facebook to collect metadata from Australian users and store it for two years.

The government had run out of time to push the plan through before the election, but, after a powerful parliamentary committee raised concerns about it, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, confirmed more work was needed.

The government will not pursue a mandatory data retention regime at this time and will await further advice from the departments and relevant agencies and comprehensive consultation, he said in a statement.

As international debate rages about revelations in the Guardian regarding access by US and UK security agencies to the metadata of internet users, the joint intelligence and security committee report has urged any Australian government to exercise caution about plans to force metadata retention for potential use by security agencies — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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